וְיֵעָשׂוּ כֻלָּם אֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

All shall unite to do God's will with an open heart.

וְיֵעָשׂוּ כֻלָּם אֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

All shall unite to do God's will with an open heart.

17 06, 2024

Parashat Beha’alotekha 5784

By |2024-06-17T10:55:24-04:00June 17, 2024|

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a prophet? To know things before they happened? This week’s parashah, Parashat Beha’alotekha, represents a master class in prophecy. Through a series of vignettes, the Torah provides insight into what it means to be a prophet.

In the first episode, several men come up to Moses and Aaron saying that they were unable to bring the Passover sacrifice because they were ritually unclean. Is there any way they can still participate (Num. 9:6-7)? All that Moses had learned from G-d was that the sacrifice was to be brought on the fourteenth day of the first month (Num. 9:5); there was nothing about what to do with people who were unable to participate at that time.

What should Moses do? Would he look weak if he admitted that he did not know the answer? Should he make his own interpretation?

What does Moses Read More >

26 03, 2024

Parashat Tzav 5784

By |2024-03-26T10:28:21-04:00March 26, 2024|

Well everybody’s got a secret, son Something they just can’t face Some spend their whole lives trying to keep it They carry it with them every step that they take ‘till one day, they just cut it loose Cut it loose or let it drag ‘em down. Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town

23 01, 2024

Parashat Beshalah 5784

By |2024-01-23T10:36:45-05:00January 23, 2024|

As Parashat Beshalah begins, the Israelites are soon trapped between the Sea and the oncoming Egyptian army. What will they do? Incredibly, Gandalf raises his magic staff and the Sea splits! Wait… I mean Moses.

15 11, 2023

Parashat Toledot 5784

By |2023-11-15T12:23:15-05:00November 15, 2023|

“Stop making sense, stop making sense Stop making sense, making sense” -Talking Heads, Girlfriend is Better (1983)

24 07, 2023

Parashat Vaethanan 5783

By |2023-08-10T15:34:49-04:00July 24, 2023|

This week’s Shabbat bears a special name, "Shabbat Nahamu” – the Shabbat of Comfort. Shabbat Nahamu comes on the heels of the saddest day on the Jewish calendar -- Tisha b’Av. This is the day on which both Temples were destroyed. Moreover, other catastrophes fell on this date – the day Bar Kokhba (the leader of the revolt against the Romans) was killed in 133 C.E., the day in 1290 when the Jews were expelled from England, the day in 1492 when the Jews were forced to convert or flee Spain. And, in 1914, the day on which World War I, and the horrors to follow, began. Tisha b’Av, the Rabbis say, is a day set aside for sorrows. And not only our national sorrows, but our personal ones as well. It makes you wonder why we don’t just curl up in a ball and stay under the covers every Tisha b’Av. But we don’t hide from our sadness; we re-live it. We sit on the ground, fast, recite Kinot (dirges) and read Eikha (Lamentations). We mourn. We embrace our sorrow. For it, too, is part of life.

30 05, 2023

Parashat Nasso 5783

By |2023-06-01T10:59:07-04:00May 30, 2023|

There’s a cartoon I once saw where a guru in a loincloth sits cross-legged at the top of a mountain. Before him is a matronly-looking woman in Western clothes who has climbed almost to the summit. The caption: “Murray, darling, when are you coming home?”

Many of us have the idea that a life of holiness means a life of privation. What does Judaism have to say about this?

In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Nasso, we read about the nazir. This is a man or woman who “explicitly utters a nazirite’s vow, to set themselves apart for G-d.” (Num. 6:2)

Having made this vow, the nazir takes on three restrictions:

1. No wine or strong drink,
2. No haircuts, and
3. Not being near someone who has died.

Three people in Tanakh seem to have fit the description of a nazir:

– Samson, whose mother was told by an angel: “You are going to conceive and bear a son; let no razor touch his head, for Read More >

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